When I became efficiency expert for a Fortune 100 company several years ago, the teams I joined often joked about all the "undertime" we were working that week. That is, time spent barely treading water, fixing things the direct result of either poor planning or poor communication. It was an apt term: largely for that unmistakable feeling of struggling to get your head above water, but never quite being able to.
That's why I value this book. When I joined a Health Care startup recently, I knew that our "undertime" could realistically be the difference between us making it... or not. And with so many stakeholders- watchful investors, outside consultants, and our internal teams of IT, marketing, & operations- how would we stay on the same page while developing a consistent brand for the most important people: our customers?
That's why I love this book. First, it is readable: our president enjoyed it, our IT loved it, our marketing embraced it. Margot Bloomstein doesn't just say "get early buy in from your stakeholders," she shows you how- laying out plans for productive group sessions, showing how to uncover common priorities in a room full of opposing ideas, etc. She doesn't just say "good content has this, bad content has that", she blows you over with examples across diverse industries & content, from Health Care to Education to Jam Makers. She provides useful checklists to track whether you're doing things right, developing solid content & consistent branding. This isn't a book simply floating in theory- it's feet are planted firmly on the ground.
Now further into our launch, we've discovered a bonus: as reality challenges our initial brand assumptions, Content Strategy is the grease that lubricates change. It used to be IT doing this, marketing doing that, the president & investors pushing for that, each of them spinning off well-intentioned ideas while our customers are greeted by a smorgasbord of noncohesive content- a bad dream! Now I say: "Considering how our customers are interacting with our social media, I think our communication priorities may have to change. Also, we may need to tweak our message architecture to accommodate this, & make things easier for them to find." To which multi-discipline teams now respond: "You're right. Let's address X, Y, and Z now, and be consistent about it."
IT, Marketing, Management, & others all speaking the same language of change?? If you know of another approach that doesn't just keep your team on the same page- but helps them stay on a turning page!- I'd like to hear about it. For my money though (literally), I'll stick with Content Strategy at Work.
Thank you to Mrs Bloomstein for giving us a resource that helps real people build modern businesses in modern times. And for helping me personally get rid of that "sinking feeling" at work.
Licensed Nurse, PMI-trained Project Manager I